Among all of the new year fun is wondering when the first baby of the calendar year will be born.

That question was answered at Stanton Territorial Hospital this past Monday afternoon.

Vanessa Jaramillo and her partner, Keegan Banks, are the proud parents of the NWT’s first baby of 2023. Kepharel Ann Jaramillo Banks arrived on Jan. 2 at 3:16 pm, weighing in at 6 lbs., 5 oz.

And, most importantly, Kepharel is healthy.

Yellowknifer was invited by the family to sit down for an interview in their room at the hospital and meet Kepharel on Wednesday.

“I’m just thankful the health care workers helped us to get through this, it was a journey,” said Jaramillo. “They worked together to helped us get through this. I had a high-risk pregnancy due to hypertension (and) the doctors walked the extra mile to help us, especially during the holidays.”

She also added that she knows there is a staffing problem in the hospital, but even with that, the staff on site provided great service.

Jaramillo said she was feeling grateful, event though she and Banks were the only two in the room during the delivery.

“That was my greatest moment of my life,” said Banks about the birth of his child.

He was even hands-on and was able to help during delivery.

Jaramillo is originally from Toronto and has been in Yellowknife for a year and a half. She’s a health care worker herself at the hospital and both her and Banks are currently engaged.

In celebration of the birth, the hospital gave the new parents a new year baby bundle with the basic supplies that they might need during the first few weeks of parenting.

“We’re really suprised, and there’s a lot — we even have extra,” said Banks.

The pair said overall, everything went smooth and peaceful, and they‘re just excited to become the first new parents in 2023 in the NWT.

Kaicheng Xin

Kaicheng Xin is a Multimedia Journalist with NNSL Media. You can reach him at

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